Objects in motion

Objects in motion

Rolling over
The sticks and stigmata of the woods
They rambled like wildfire 
Turned tumbling 
To creeks with no edge and
Baying to ever-changing moons

They lived this way
For centuries
And only the shapes of their fingers
And tongues
Grew tapered and hard
As candlesticks
And told them where they’d come and gone

Gorging on wine
Fermented from honey and spilled-down
Fortresses built in the war
Drunk from the bladders 
Of half-dead creatures 
Their eyes grew occluded
With the ceaseless feast of seasons

They lay down to sleep
For the first time
And touched their palms to fluted flame
Knowing the beasts they’d breathed to being
And resting the lacy shape of memory
Built of the space between soil and sky 


Spaciousness

You were never sure of yourself or others,
Never depended on the universe
To stand still long enough.

Instead you swept your hair
In expensive topknots 
Rode zebras into a veiled horizon
Onlookers feasting
Like a glorious Renaissance tableau,
A slab of cold painted marble 
You imagined would taste clean as carrots, 
Unhinging your jaw
And chomping through statue,
Lost baby teeth unmourned as milk.

You’ve always been crooked
As crocodiles, left me in Florida once
At a theme park clutching my gut
And an empty wallet,
A pit of stone down the throat I bore you
Your gash of eyes I swallowed
And thrummed up through this gauze I wear,
This aging body of knit-up vines
Ensnarled and everywhere bald bits peek
Like unclothed homes,
Their curtains never drawn enough
For you to seal yourself into.

You wash your hands clean
Of the wholeness 
You wore when you were nine years old
And everything felt like
Stepping through silk 
In a vast unfurling canvas, 
A tent sewn soft
As splayed hands of rain  
On the roof of your dress.

Shannon Cuthbert is a writer and artist living in Brooklyn. Her poems have appeared in Bluepepper and Chronogram, among others, and are forthcoming in Call Me [Brackets] and Glass: A Journal of Poetry.

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